Top doctor’s chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year
The horrific “Liverpool pathway” masquerades as mercy but is in fact merciless and brutal homicide
NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday. Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.
He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country. It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.
It can include withdrawal of treatment – including the provision of water and nourishment by tube – and on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours. There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP.
Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’. He cited ‘pressure on beds and difficulty with nursing confused or difficult-to-manage elderly patients’ as factors.
Professor Pullicino revealed he had personally intervened to take a patient off the LCP who went on to be successfully treated. He said this showed that claims they had hours or days left are ‘palpably false’.
In the example he revealed a 71-year-old who was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia and epilepsy was put on the LCP by a covering doctor on a weekend shift. Professor Pullicino said he had returned to work after a weekend to find the patient unresponsive and his family upset because they had not agreed to place him on the LCP. ‘I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance,’ he said.
‘His seizures came under control and four weeks later he was discharged home to his family,’ he said.
Professor Pullicino, a consultant neurologist for East Kent Hospitals and Professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Kent, was speaking to the Royal Society of Medicine in London.
He said: ‘The lack of evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway makes it an assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway. ‘Very likely many elderly patients who could live substantially longer are being killed by the LCP.
‘Patients are frequently put on the pathway without a proper analysis of their condition. ‘Predicting death in a time frame of three to four days, or even at any other specific time, is not possible scientifically.
This determination in the LCP leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The personal views of the physician or other medical team members of perceived quality of life or low likelihood of a good outcome are probably central in putting a patient on the LCP.’
He added: ‘If we accept the Liverpool Care Pathway we accept that euthanasia is part of the standard way of dying as it is now associated with 29 per cent of NHS deaths.’
The LCP was developed in the North West during the 1990s and recommended to hospitals by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in 2004.
Medical criticisms of the Liverpool Care Pathway were voiced nearly three years ago. Experts including Peter Millard, emeritus professor of geriatrics at the University of London, and Dr Peter Hargreaves, palliative care consultant at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, Surrey, warned of ‘backdoor euthanasia’ and the risk that economic factors were being brought into the treatment of vulnerable patients.
In the example of the 71-year-old, Professor Pullicino revealed he had given the patient another 14 months of life by demanding the man be removed from the LCP. Professor Pullicino said the patient was an Italian who spoke poor English, but was living with a ‘supportive wife and daughter’. He had a history of cerebral haemorrhage and subsequent seizures.
Professor Pullicino said: ‘I found him deeply unresponsive on a Monday morning and was told he had been put on the LCP. He was on morphine via a syringe driver.’ He added: ‘I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance.’
The patient’s extra 14 months of life came at considerable cost to the NHS and the taxpayer, Professor Pullicino indicated. He said he needed extensive support with wheelchair, ramps and nursing.
After 14 months the patient was admitted to a different hospital with pneumonia and put on the LCP. The man died five hours later.
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘The Liverpool Care Pathway is not euthanasia and we do not recognise these figures. The pathway is recommended by NICE and has overwhelming support from clinicians – at home and abroad – including the Royal College of Physicians.
‘A patient’s condition is monitored at least every four hours and, if a patient improves [Fat chance!], they are taken off the Liverpool Care Pathway and given whatever treatments best suit their new needs.’
Doctors accused my wife of faking illness – hours later she had died from a stroke
Had clotbusting drugs been given at the first presentation, she would almost certainly be alive and well today
A grieving widower is suing a hospital after his wife collapsed and died from a massive stroke – just hours after she was sent home accused of pretending to be ill.
Philip Maddox, 58, was told by doctors his wife Maggie, 53, needed psychiatric help because they could find nothing wrong with her despite her complaining she was in agony with severe headaches and vomiting.
An inquest heard she first went to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, on June 14, 2010, but was sent home, having been told there was nothing wrong with her. She went back to the hospital three times before they then diagnosed a massive stroke
Then her husband took her back there 10 days later, on June 24, when she suffered similar symptoms including dizziness.
Maggie was discharged again – against her wishes – but that night at home she continued to complain she felt unwell and was driven back to the hospital by her son because Philip had to go to work. She collapsed in the hospital car park.
Staff got her into a wheelchair and took her into the Accident and Emergency department, but a nurse told her to ‘stop shouting and making a fuss’. Still, doctors did not seem to take Maggie’s complaints seriously and left her in the waiting area. Finally, she was admitted and a consultant diagnosed she had suffered a massive stroke. Maggie, who worked in the Asda transport department, died three days later.
Her death has devastated her husband and their daughter Leah, 28, and 26-year-old son Blake.
To make matters worse, the family were subsequently told some of her medical records had not been properly kept and her discharge notes from June 24 had gone missing.
Philip, a retired prison governor, from Dartford, said: ‘When I first took Maggie into hospital they checked her over but said they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. ‘She was in agony but I took their word for it because they’re supposed to be the experts.
‘The second time I took Maggie to hospital the doctors said she had psychological issues. They were saying she was pretending to be ill or was convincing herself she was ill when she wasn’t.
‘All the time Maggie was insisting she was ill but no one listened to her. She was vomiting in the bin in the hospital and complaining of a violent headache.
‘My daughter and I asked the doctor to refer her to a psychiatrist but he said he couldn’t and advised us to take Maggie to her GP who could do that. ‘Maggie didn’t want to leave the hospital but the doctor said if we couldn’t move her from the bed, security would have to do it. We had to bundle her out in a wheelchair.
‘It was such a distressing time because Maggie was moaning loudly in pain and the staff just thought she was making it up.’
He said she seemed to start feeling better that evening at home but in the early hours she woke up in pain, again complaining of the same symptoms.
Philip added: ‘I felt terrible because I had to go into work that morning so I got my son to take Maggie to the hospital even though I really wanted to be with her. I felt bad because I had already taken some time off work to deal with this.
‘But when they got there Maggie collapsed in the car park. My son said it was obvious she was in a very bad way but the doctors and nurses still seemed unconvinced she was really ill.’
At an inquest the coroner Roger Hatch concluded she died from natural causes. He said he was satisfied Maggie’s stroke ‘presented at a time which would not have changed the outcome’.
Mr Hatch added there would be ‘no useful purpose’ in making a formal recommendation on medical notes and records-keeping because this was an ‘isolated’ incident.
Philip had been hoping for an ‘open’ verdict. However, he is still pressing ahead with a private legal action alleging breach of duty by the medical staff on June 24.
Richard Norman of solicitors Leo Abse and Cohen, said: ‘We have taken expert medical opinion and we feel there is a case to answer for breach of duty. ‘Now we are in the process of trying to establish, again through expert medical opinion, if that breach of duty affected the outcome.’
In a statement, Darent Valley Hospital NHS Trust said: ‘After a thorough investigation into the facts and hearing the statements and evidence from all parties, the Coroner concluded that the care and treatment Mrs Maddox received at the hospital had been entirely appropriate and that she died of natural causes.
‘We are completely satisfied that our doctors treated Mrs Maddox properly and that all of the necessary tests and investigations were performed. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and understand how difficult and distressing it can be to lose a loved one.’
A homosexual activist embraces conformity where one he stood for liberty
A sign of the pressures to conformity imposed society-wide by political corectness?
One of the less commented-on aspects of the gay marriage campaign has been its taming of Peter Tatchell. For decades, Tatchell was a thorn in the side of both the establishment and the squarer sections of the gay rights movement. A permanently outraged queer, he railed against the hypocrisies of politicians and priests and also against what he called the “sharp-suited middle-class professionals” of the modern gay movement, who were obsessed, as he put it, with “cuddly issues like gay marriage”. How times have changed. Now Tatchell is on the frontline of that cuddly issue, loudly agitating for the right of gay men and lesbians to get hitched. The deviant has been domesticated.
With just one day to go before the Government’s consultation on same sex marriage closes, Tatchell is pulling out all the stops to ensure the “legalisation of same sex civil marriages”. He is coordinator of a campaign called Equal Love and has become the go-to man for media outlets who want a firm-voiced advocate of gay marriage. What a turnaround! Ten years ago he wrote a brilliant, blistering assault on gay rights activists who demanded the right to marry, denouncing their desire to “embrace traditional heterosexual aspirations” and slamming them for having “succumbed to the Blairite politics of conformism, respectability and moderation”. He railed against the “career campaigners” who had “infused the gay movement with their own cautious respectable values”. They “crave acceptance and advancement”, he said, which is why they forefront “safe, cuddly issues like gay marriage”.
In that 10-year-old article, Tatchell made a very good point about equality – and it is testament to the shrinking of the political mindset in the succeeding decade that it is virtually impossible to imagine anyone making the same point today. He said equality was not the most important value in the world. Indeed, he said it was a shame that “equality has become the unquestioned political objective [of the gay rights movement]”. He argued that “accepting mere equality involves the abandonment of any critical perspective on straight culture. In place of healthy scepticism, it substitutes naive acquiescence. Discernment is surrendered in favour of compliance.” Looking back at the birth of the gay liberation movement in the early 1970s, he said: “There were no calls for equality; our demand was liberation. We wanted to change society, not conform to it.”
Indeed. Essentially, the aim of the radical gay politics once promoted by the likes of Tatchell was to liberate homosexuals from the purview of the state. The gay marriage campaign represents the precise opposite: it is about winning state recognition of gay relationships, pleading with the state to sanctify homosexual living arrangements. Where once gay activists fought to get the state out of their lives – out of their bedrooms and their bars – now they are fighting to get it back in, calling for it effectively to say: “Your relationships are valuable.” The demand for liberation has given way to the plea for state recognition. That even Tatchell has been won over by what he once described as the “politics of conformism, respectability and moderation” shows just how unquestioned today’s so-called equality agenda has become.
There is something bigger taking place here. We haven’t only lost one of Britain’s more colourful radicals to the all-consuming vortex of political conformism. More than that, the taming of Tatchell speaks to a broader diminishing of the ideal of liberation and its replacement by the safe, grey politics of identity and recognition, where every political campaigner (certainly not just gay ones) now basically leaps up and down and asks the state to give him the thumbs up of official approval. The gay marriage campaign will end up expanding the remit of the state, granting it the authority to overhaul an ancient institution, redefine our relationships, and rebrand us all as “partners” rather than husbands or wives or lovers. That such a campaign is being spearheaded by those who once sought to eject the state from private life is ironic, and sad. How about fighting to get the state out of marriage, and letting communities decide for themselves what this institution means, rather than inviting it in to remake marriage in its own PC image?
Up to half of the British ‘jobless’ may be working in the black economy as thousands forfeit their handouts
Almost half of jobless people told to do unpaid work are opting to forfeit their handouts instead. The figures show that many benefit claimants are working in the black economy, according to employment minister Chris Grayling. They would rather give up their welfare payments than forego their undeclared earnings, he said.
‘I sat through an interview with a young man in a job centre who was working for a few hours a week, below the benefit threshold, at a local nightclub,’ he told the Mail. ‘But he’d missed the previous week’s signing-on interview, and was told he’d be losing a week’s money as a result. He just shrugged. ‘No one just shrugs if they lose a week’s money, and they’ve got no other means of support. But proving it is easier said than done.
That was one important reason why we introduced a month’s full-time activity in the community for jobseekers who are clearly not pulling their weight, or working in the black market.’
Official figures show that 29 per cent sign off jobseeker’s allowance rather than turn up for unpaid work. A further 17 per cent fail to start their placement and lose their benefits in consequence.
The analysis covered 3,190 people in May, June and July last year.
‘We know there are people out there who are working on the quiet while on benefits,’ added Mr Grayling.
‘In 2010/11, people who were working while pretending to be unemployed in order to claim benefits cost the taxpayer an estimated £243million, including £94million in jobseeker’s allowance.’
Ministers have announced a major expansion of the scheme – dubbed slave labour by Opposition MPs – that will mean as many as 70,000 people a year can be referred to a mandatory work activity.
The system of sanctions is also being tightened to make sure people cannot simply sign off benefits and sign on again a few weeks later in order to avoid their placement.
The mandatory work activity scheme is separate to unpaid work experience for private firms, which has also been controversial and subject to legal challenges.
Job centre staff have been given powers to force those on out-of-work benefits to take unpaid posts.
Those who appear unwilling to look for work can be referred to the scheme at any stage, even on day one of their claim.
The placements are typically with charities or involve some kind of community service, such as helping to maintain parks.
Those who refuse to take part, or agree but then fail to turn up without good reason, have their £67.50-a-week unemployment benefit stopped.
‘I’ve met people who freely admit to having been feckless and lazy, but who have found a working environment to be enjoyable and rewarding, and have started to take the whole job search process seriously as a result,’ Mr Grayling said.
‘We don’t force people to do commercial activity – but we are absolutely willing to make people do community work if it will help their job search.
The less people do while they are unemployed, the more remote they become from the workplace. Sometimes it is because they are lazy and don’t care.
‘More often it is because they lose confidence in their ability to find work, and they stay at home and become more and more depressed and fed up. ‘Most people on benefits do not want to be there. It is only a minority who can’t be bothered.’
Labour’s work and pensions spokesman Liam Byrne said: ‘This announcement does nothing for 99 per cent of Britain’s jobless.’
British school coverup
This has happened beore. They don’t want anybody to know how out of control the schools are
The outraged parents of a young boy held at knife-point in his school playground were only told about the attack two weeks later by the attacker’s mother.
Sean Skinner, 10, was assaulted by another pupil who held a penknife to his throat at Brooklands Primary School in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, on May 31.
But Sean’s parents Stephen and Sally Skinner were not informed about the incident until a fortnight later, and then only when they received a phone call from the mother of the pupil who had threatened their son to apologise.
Mr Skinner, 43, said it was ‘diabolical’ that the school had not told him what had happened.
He said: ‘I was stunned when we were called by the mother of the child who had the knife. ‘I checked with my son about what had gone on and when he told me about it I got in touch with the school. ‘It was two weeks after the incident that we finally heard about it.’
Headteacher Shaun Thorpe has now made a formal apology to Sean’s parents for leaving them in the dark. They were not told about about the knife incident – which is now being investigated – until June 11.
Mr Skinner said: ‘The mother could not have been more apologetic and told us she fully supported any action we wanted to take.’
Sean is in year five at Brooklands Primary School, which has a ‘good’ rating from government inspection body OFSTED.
His father said Sean was ‘shaken but unhurt’.
Mr and Mrs Skinner have two other children at the school – Dylan, six, and Isobel, four.
Mr Skinner said he had met with Mr Thorpe after discovering what had happened. He said: ‘The headteacher said that it was an oversight that we hadn’t been told.
‘But if I was in their position telling the parents of the children would be my main concern. If we don’t know what is going on in the school how can we help?’
Mr Thorpe said: ‘The safety of our pupils is our number one priority. ‘We will not tolerate pupils bringing knives of any description into school. ‘We took immediate action as soon as we knew one of our pupils was carrying a knife and had threatened another pupil.
‘Normally in cases of bullying and or threatening behaviour, we would speak to the parents of all of the children involved. ‘This did not happened immediately and we apologise for this.
‘On this occasion our first priority was to investigate the matter fully and ensure the safety of all our pupils.
‘We are doing all we can to ensure children understand the dangers of playing with knives and that they must not bring them into school under any circumstances.
‘We are also asking parents for their help in reinforcing these messages and in making sure their children do not bring knives to school.’ Mr Thorpe refused to say whether the child with the knife had been suspended. [So we know the answer to that]
This meaningless green drivel, by environment guru: Scientist’s U-turn on doomsday claim
He was once a guru to environmentalists, claiming climate change would kill billions of humans by the end of this century. But it seems James Lovelock has had a change of heart.
On the eve of a major environmental summit, he has attacked the modern green movement – declaring its theories ‘meaningless drivel’.
Almost half a century after he revealed his Gaia theory, which inspired a generation of activists, the former Nasa scientist said he believed that rising sea levels were not a problem and that wind turbines were ‘useless’.
The 92-year-old described the modern green movement as a ‘religion’, which used guilt to gain support.
Speaking about climate change, he said: ‘I’m not worried about sea-level rises.’ He added: ‘At worst, I think it will be 2ft a century.’
Slamming environmentalists, he said: ‘It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion. ‘I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all the sort of terms that religions use. The greens use guilt. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting CO2 in the air.’
Mr Lovelock said he was a firm supporter of nuclear power and even voiced his support for fracking – the controversial process of extracting gas from rock deep underground, opposed by the green movement. He said: ‘Gas is almost a giveaway in the US at the moment. They’ve gone for fracking in a big way. ‘Let’s be pragmatic and sensible and get Britain to switch everything to methane. We should be going mad on it.’
In an interview, Mr Lovelock described existing theories of ‘sustainable development’ – a key topic for discussion at the upcoming summit – as ‘drivel’.
He suggested that humans should instead use air conditioning to deal with climate change in cities, citing Singapore as an example. He said: ‘If we all move into cities, they become the equivalent of a nest. Then another thought comes immediately from that: if that’s the way the flow is going, don’t stop it, let’s encourage it. ‘Instead of trying to save the planet by geo-engineering or whatever, you merely have to air-condition the cities.’
Speaking about Singapore he said: ‘You could not have chosen a worse climate in which to build a city. It’s a swamp with temperatures in the 90s every day, and very humid.
‘But it is one of the most successful cities in the world. It’s so much cheaper to air-condition the cities and let Gaia take care of the world. It’s a much better route to go than so-called “sustainable development”, which is meaningless drivel.
Mr Lovelock, who has conducted research at Yale and Harvard universities, has been a respected member of the academic community for decades. He discovered the presence of harmful chemicals – CFCs – in the atmosphere in the 1960s.
He developed the Gaia theory while working with Nasa. It claims that the Earth has a self-regulating system which has automatically controlled global temperature, atmospheric content, oxygen, ocean salinity, and other factors.
But last month, the scientist admitted that he had been ‘alarmist’ and ‘extrapolated too far’ with his doomsday-like predictions on the effects of climate change.
His latest comments came just a week before the Rio+20 summit, a major conference on climate change, to mark the anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit in 1992.
Perhaps We Shouldn’t Listen To The Climate “Scientists” About Climate Change
Tim Worstall very foolishly expects Warmists to care about the facts
For it would appear that some climate scientists are remarkably ignorant about what is going on. And this rather worries me: the idea that people who quite literally do not know what they are talking about making government policy is scary.
I present as my example this from Sir David King, until recently the chief scientific advisor to the UK Government. There are various misunderstandings of how economics and finance work in his expressed views but this is particularly horrible:
He also believes it is imperative to fund other major infrastructure projects, such as the Severn Barrage, which would provide three gigawatts of electricity and still run in 200 years with minimum maintenance.
“The problem is that the longest time an economist will work on investment returns is 25 years. We need to look at taking a much longer view. What is missing is clear direction from number 10 and 11.”
The problem with this is that it is entirely nonsense. The report by economists into that Severn Barrage is here. You will see there, at the top of page two, that the costs and benefits are projected out to 120 years: the rough lifespan of the asset if it is ever built.
The reason the economists have downvoted the plan is not because they’re not looked out beyond 25 years: it is because they have. They’ve looked at it and found that all possible variations of the project lose money. All are more expensive than not building it and doing something else instead.
I’m entirely happy to take climatologists’ word for it about climate. Hydrologists’ about water, cloud specialists about clouds and so on but I do object vehemently when the experts on those same subjects decide to try pronouncing on a subject they’re ignorant of, economics. As Sir David clearly has done here.
This is more than just a whine or whinge: there’s an extremely important underlying point here. Whether or not climate change is happening is properly the work of those who understand climate science. However, once the determination has been made it becomes a matter of changing peoples’ behaviour and that’s not something that climate scientists know about. Whereas it is exactly what economists study. Assuming that climate change is happening, that we’re causing it and that something must be done it then becomes and economic problem, to be dealt with using economic methods and methodology.
And it’s rather worrying don’t you think that the man who until recently was the main technical advisor to the government on the subject is entirely ignorant of those matters economic?